In our latest Insights Series, we spoke to Shannon Tripp, a mother of five and pediatric nurse who’s dedicated to educating and empowering new parents to create happier and healthier homes.
1. You’re a mama of 5, wow! First of all, congratulations. Secondly, can you tell us about your pregnancy journey(s)?
With me being so sick all day, pregnancy is not all rainbows and butterflies for the first 20 weeks; in fact, during this last pregnancy I told Ry to tattoo on my forehead that I would never do this again. But then the sickness goes away and I fall in love with the process all over again and enjoy it so much – it is beautiful what our bodies can do!
2. Was each child and labor experience different? If so, how?
After learning about the labor process as a nurse, I was determined to have all of my babies unmedicated. The first was in the hospital, thank goodness, because I hemorrhaged so badly after the birth that I had to go to the OR to stop the hemorrhage and get blood transfusions. Thankfully I don’t remember any of it because I lost so much blood. But my sweet girl was healthy, and that’s all that mattered to me. The next three babies were in the hospital and I had beautiful deliveries, but I always longed for a home birth. And, with my fifth baby, that dream came true: I was surrounded by all my other little ones and my supportive husband, and it was better than anything I could have imagined.
3. In your experience as a pediatric ER nurse, what would you say is the most common issue that brings kids into your ER?
Fevers! Moms are very scared of fevers, and I hope to empower them to know that they don’t have to be. The signs and symptoms our kiddos present are much more important than the number on the thermometer. Fevers are the body's reaction to help fight off whatever virus is infecting the body. So, if we work with the fever, using it to help fight the infection, our bodies will generally heal more quickly.
4. Many of us parents are terrified at the thought of a choking child. Are there any tips you can give us?
With education and preparedness, every parent is capable of knowing how to save a choking child’s life, and it is important for every parent to have these skills because seconds matter when it comes to choking. The day my son choked changed me forever. We were out to dinner with friends and family, and I had put Jack in his carseat carrier as I said bye to friends on the other side of the table. Then my daughter came running up to me: “Mommy, Mommy Jack is choking.” Rushing over, I found him purple, with a peppermint candy completely occluding his airway. I immediately picked him up, turned him over, and did exactly what I knew how to do. Time stood still as the restaurant froze around me. After what felt like forever, the peppermint candy shot out of his throat. Sobbing, so grateful to have my son, I knew I wanted to dedicate my time to helping parents prepare for the emergencies, both big and small, they will face. Because if I hadn’t known what to do, I wouldn’t have my sweet Jack. Being prepared and knowing what to do when an emergency occurs can help ease the anxiety parents have when they think about their kiddos choking, or any other emergency. It is my hope to be able to help equip parents with these skills.
5. What safety equipment should every parent have in their home?
I actually just recently launched a First Aid Kit in a collaboration with MyMedic (can be purchased through my website! With specific packs labeled for different types of emergencies (stings, burns, cuts, etc.), no longer will you have to sift through a complicated medical kit, wondering how to properly use the tools to help your children. Simply scan the QR code on the included educational insert for instructional videos and I’ll walk you through exactly how to use the tools in each pack, providing you with the knowledge & confidence to be able to immediately help your child. Prevention is also so important in the home; simple things like making sure pot handles are turned backwards on burners, choking hazards are stored away from crawling babies, and locking second story windows, medicines and cleaners. Preventative measures go a long way!
6. You’re a huge advocate for both modern medicine and holistic care. Do you have any tips for parents looking to raise their child in the holistic philosophy?
Balance is possible! I believe there is a place for both. The holistic world is amazing and beautiful, but it’s also very big. Just start with one cleaner, smarter change at a time, and once you have that down, move to learning about the next.
7. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Being a mother is the most rewarding part of my job, and with that I’ve always had a huge space in my heart to help other mothers. Whether in the ER or through my online platforms, the privilege of being able to meet moms in their most scary, vulnerable moments – when their kiddos are sick, facing an emergency, or need help – and being able to comfort mothers, letting them know that everything will be alright, brings me so much joy.
8. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
With my heart for helping moms also comes a feeling of always wanting to do more, so it is often hard for me to shut off my brain. I find myself always wanting to reach out to one more family, encourage one more parent, or educate one more mom. Because there is always more work to be done, it’s hard for me to not constantly think about all those who I could be helping. I’ve learned to do my best to stay present when I’m with my kiddos, do what I can to educate and empower others, and let God do the rest.
9. At what point should a parent take their child to the ER?
The number one rule is use your gut: you know your child best. If you have a feeling that your child needs emergency care, follow your gut. If your child is awake, alert, breathing, and does not have uncontrolled bleeding or any other life threatening issue, it may be helpful for you to call your pediatrician first. They can help you determine the best timing and place to seek care for your child.
Some common reasons to take your child to the ER, include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Decreased level of consciousness
• Severe allergic reaction
• Heavy bleeding or deep wound
• Bone injury/bone pushing through skin
• Serious burn
• A child’s first seizure
• Extended dehydration (no urination for 8+ hours)
• Fever in an infant 2 months old or younger
• Head injury with symptoms
• Fever with neck pain
• Abdominal pain in right lower abdomen area
10. What inspired you to get into this line of work?
I remember being a little girl seeing women hold babies in the nursery after they were born, and I asked my mom what they were called, and she said “nurses.” Then later I learned being a nurse would actually make me more knowledgeable as a mom, which has always been my bigger dream! Being able to do both is the biggest blessing.
Shannon Tripp is a pediatric nurse, mother of five, and online educator dedicated to giving parents the knowledge and resources they need to raise happy, healthy children. You can learn more about Shannon through her website, or through her personal instagram account.
At Doona, we are all about providing products and tools to help make life easier for parents. That’s why we created smart and functional travel baby gear like our Doona Car Seat & Stroller, the fully integrated travel system that transforms in a click; as well as Liki Trike, the most compact folding tricycle on the market.